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9 Chapter 9 Second Language Acquisition


Chapter Nine Second Language Acquisition

1. Second Language Acquisition
1.1 Language acquisition
the natural process of children’s language development
?

Babbling stage: (articulating certain speech sounds)

--- 3-4 months, speech-like sounds like /d?/, /m?/, /n?/, /b?/ --- 9-12 months, real words, intonation patterns (6-8 months: ma, pa)

1. Second Language Acquisition
?

Holophrastic stage: (using single words to represent various meanings; single words functioning as complete sentence/ idea)

--- 12 months, strings of sounds - 18 months, monosyllabic words, e.g. cat, dog, tree, dad, mum, mum, go, 狗狗, 家家

1. Second Language Acquisition
? Two-word stage

--- 24 month or earlier Knowing some grammar Showing syntactic / semantic relations Reflecting basic syntactic rules of language

Crucial / important stage

e.g. mammy there daddy here doggie gone water hot 宝宝床,妈妈抱 (seems different from English)

1. Second Language Acquisition
?

Telegraphic speech
--- two years and half Content words only e.g. Daddy goed. Daddy no go. Mammy love me. John play piano.

1.2 Acquisition and learning
?

Acquisition refers to picking up a second language (L2) naturally and subconsciously. Learning refers to mastering L2 through instruction in classroom. Acquisition and learning are used interchangeably in the literature of L2 research. (Now, for some scholars)

?

?

1.3 Second language acquisition and Foreign language learning
?

Second language acquisition
process of mastering a language other than one’s mother tongue in a bilingual or multilingual community

?

Foreign language learning
process of mastering a language other than one’s mother tongue in a monolingual community

In this chapter, Second language acquisition (SLA) is used as a general term to refer to both Second language acquisition and Foreign language learning in their narrow senses.

2. Factors affecting SLA
--- social factors and learner factors 2.1 Social factors (also: external factors) --- language policies --- attitudes of the public sector --- social demands 2.2 Learner factors --- motivation --- age --- learning strategies

2.2 Learner factors
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Motivation
?

instrumental motivation (if learning means only to use it as an instrument)

?

integrative motivation (if learning means to become a member of the target community)

--- limitation: the relation between motivation and success being unidirectional theoretically inadequate and practically not instructive

2.2 Learner factors – (continued)
?

Motivation
learners having a sense of achievement as long as they learn

? cognitive motivation (also: resultant motivation):

2.2 Learner factors – (continued)
? ?

Age
the critical period hypothesis (the first ten years)

Learning strategies
the particular approaches or techniques employed to learn a second language)

--- Cognitive strategies: inferring / guessing meaning from contexts --- Metacognitive strategies: directing attention to the learning task, monitoring and evaluating learning .

3 Analysing learners’ language
3.1 Contrastive analysis
--- From the 1940s to the 1960s

--- An effort to understand the source of errors in learners’ language --- Assumption: the greater the difference between the native language and the target language, the greater the learning problem and the potentiality of mother tongue interference.

--- The contrastive analysis hypothesis has proved not very powerful in explaining why learners’ language is as it is.

3.2 Error analysis
--- From the late1960s --- Corder: Errors have theoretical and practical significance --- Theoretically: They provide feedback to psycholinguistics in constructing theories of SLA, --- Practically: They indicate to language teachers the effectiveness of the teaching materials and techniques.

3.2 Error analysis
? ?

Steps of error analysis identifying comparing the sentences produced by the learner with the corresponding sentences native speakers are likely to produce to express the same meanings

describing categorizing errors grammatically ? explaining tracing the source of errors
?

3.2 Error analysis
? Classification of errors
?

interlingual errors: errors caused by mother tongue interference
intralingual errors: errors caused by wrong knowledge of the target language

?

3.2 Error analysis
? Classification of errors –(continued)
?

interlingual errors:
--- transfer

--- interference

3.2 Error analysis
? Classification of errors –(continued)
?

intralingual errors:

--- Overgeneralization: When learners know some rules of a language but apply them in the wrong place, they are said to overgeneralize the rules. Such errors are results of overgeneralization of the target language system.

?

intralingual errors –(continued):

--- Simplification (also: redundancy reduction): He come here everyday. --- Cross-association: stalagmite – stalactite; dessert – desert, guerrilla - gorilla

3.3 Study of interlanguage
? ?

Coined by L. Selinker Corder called learners’ language an idiosyncratic dialect.

?

Interlanguage is the approximate language system that the learner constructs for use in communication through the target language.
A continuum along which all learners traverse

?

4 Explaining second language acquisition 4.1 Nativist theories
Assumption: Noam Chomsky claims that human beings are biologically programmed for language and that the language develops in the child just as other biological functions such as walking. Originally Chomsky referred to this innate ability as Language Acquisition Device (LAD).

4 Explaining second language acquisition 4.1 Nativist theories – (continued)
?

Krashen’s Monitor Theory --- the five hypotheses

1) the Acquisition-Learning Distinction (Cornerstone of Krashen’s theory) 2) Natural Order 3) Monitor 4) Input 5) Affective Filter

4 Explaining second language acquisition 4.1 Nativist theories – (continued)
--- As a corollary of this, what can be done in second language teaching is only providing comprehensible input just beyond the learner’s present level. If the input goes through the affective filter, then acquisition will take place.

4 Explaining second language acquisition

4.2 Environmentalist theories
Experience is of more importance than innate contributions in learning a second language.
?

The Acculturation Model Acculturation is ‘the process of becoming adapted to a new culture’ (Brown, 1980:129).

4.2 Environmentalist theories
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The Acculturation Model – (continued) Central premise: ‘(SLA) is just one aspect of acculturation and the degree to which a learner acculturates to the target language group will control the degree to which he acquires the second language.’ (Schumann, 1978:34)

4.2 Environmentalist theories
?

The Acculturation Model – (continued)
Acculturation is determined by the degree of social and psychological distance between the learner and the target language culture.

? Limitation: It is questionable whether the Acculturation Model is still effective in explaining the acquisition process.

4 Explaining second language acquisition 4.3 Functionalist theories
--- attempting to explain SLA from intrapersonal as well as interpersonal perspectives
?

The development of the formal devices for realizing basic language functions grows out of the interpersonal uses to which language is put. Language acquisition takes place in the process of learning to communicate.

?

4 Explaining second language acquisition 4.4 The neurofunctional perspective
attempting to characterize the neurolingistic information processing systems responsible for the development and use of language.
? Basic premise

there being a connection between language function and the neural anatomy

4 Explaining second language acquisition 4.4 The neurofunctional perspective
?

Neurofunctional accounts of SLA recognize the contribution of both the left and the right hemispheres of the brain. Hypotheses need verification.

?

End of Chapter Nine

Latest update: Dec. 25, 2005


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